Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday drew parallels between Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, saying the BJP had come to power in the two states by stealing MLAs and both their governments carried a heavy taint of corruption.
Launching the election campaign in Madhya Pradesh from Sagar district, which has a large population of Dalits and backward classes, Kharge said: “There are good people and there are thieves. The dictionary carries this word – chor – because we do have thieves. The government in Madhya Pradesh is illegal; it is formed by stealing MLAs from the Congress. They did the same in Karnataka.”
Kharge continued: “They steal MLAs using money power, by deploying coercive methods through ED-CBI. They somehow form their governments even if the people don’t give them the mandate to rule. The people of Karnataka have rejected them. Now they must be taught a lesson in Madhya Pradesh. There is another similarity; the Karnataka government carried the slur of 40% commission but here it is 50%.”
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, whose government fell because of defections that Kharge was referring to, said: “Madhya Pradesh is now known for bhrastrachar, atyachar aur prachar (Corruption, atrocities & publicity). You see scams everywhere. The people of the state know this. Apart from corruption, the state is number one in unemployment. Till the youth render the BJP ministers jobless, they will themselves remain jobless.”
Cautioning voters against election-time promises, Kamal Nath said: “Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s lie machine is running at double speed. He has suddenly remembered the women, youth and farmers as the election has come. He is making new announcements daily. But people have seen him for 18 years and know him thoroughly. He is washing his sins of 18 years by making new promises.”
Madhya Pradesh, which will go to polls later this year, is critical if the Opposition combine INDIA has to put up a formidable challenge to Narendra Modi. Questioning the Prime Minister’s lofty rhetoric on corruption, Modi’s main weapon against the Opposition, the Congress president said: “You talk of clean politics and steal MLAs. We won Madhya Pradesh last time but you snatched it. Is this your principle? You steal Opposition’s government and don’t even visit or speak about the turmoil in BJP-ruled Manipur?”
Confronting home minister Amit Shah who has been asking the Congress what they did in the five decades they ruled the state, Kharge said: “Our greatest contribution is that we protected democracy which helped you come to power. You are trying to destroy democracy and change our Constitution. But we are committed to protect the Constitution. And what about the public sector units, IIMs, IITs, dams, and other life-changing projects that the Congress executed?”
Kharge asked: “What did you do? You only lie. You promised Rs 15 lakh in every account, two crore jobs every year, doubling of farmers’ income…Has anybody got it? People can’t digest the lies any more. Reject these leaders whose main obsession is peddling lies. Don’t fall into their trap.”
Kharge also recalled how the prices of essential commodities have doubled in the last nine years, promising assistance to the poor by offering a gas cylinder for Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 to every woman head of the home every month, apart from 100 unit free electricity, loan-waiver for farmers and restoration of old pension scheme. He said increasing the monthly cash assistance to women can be considered at a later stage.